Friday 9 August 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

New study suggests MMR link with autism

A fresh debate over the controversial MMR jab is likely to be
fuelled after new research suggests links between the vaccination
and autism.

Vijendra Singh, a scientist at Utah university in the United
States, holds the view that measles vaccine could cause autism. In
his new study published in the Journal of Biomedical Science, he
says he has found an unusual MMR antibody in 75 children with
autism, which was not present in children who do not have the

The report says: “Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that
an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles
component, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.”

Source:- The Guardian Friday 9 August page 8

Prisoners ‘taking advantage of rights

A breakdown in discipline in prisons could emerge following a
human rights ruling that punishment hearings were illegal, prison
governors and staff warned yesterday.

They claim there have already been a number of disturbances in
prisons after the decision, which has prevented governors adding
time to sentences for offences committed in prison.

The Prison Governors Association said the government did not
move to put in place a new system before the European court of
human rights’ ruling. It said that unless a new system of
adjudicating on prisoners’ alleged offences is imposed
quickly more inmates could try to take advantage.

Last month the Strasbourg court ruled it was a breach of the
right to a fair trial for a governor to sit as “judge and jury” in
internal disciplinary hearings for offences that would be
considered criminal outside jail.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 9 August page 9

Social background holds key to a child’s

Children’s social backgrounds are more important than low
birth weight in determining how well they will achieve in school in
later life, according to research.

Social deprivation and poverty are some of the most significant
reasons why some children do less well than others, according to
the study, published in the British Medical Journal.

It finds low birth weight because of premature birth or a poorly
nourished mother does affect intellectual development, but not to
such an extent as social class.

Barbara Jefferis, a research fellow at the Institute of Child
Health in London, believes the report shows the need for more to be
done in tackling childhood deprivation. “These results show the
strong effect of social background in cognitive development, and
the need to take seriously policies addressing deprivation in

Source:- The Guardian Friday 9 August page 10

Ecstasy death girl’s father is

The father of the 10-year-old girl who died after taking ecstasy
was arrested yesterday.

A police spokesperson said Simon Slack, father of Jade, was
arrested on suspicion of “being concerned in the supply of
controlled substances”, and questioned at Lancaster police

Jade died in hospital last month after taking ecstasy at a
friend’s home in Galgate, near Lancaster.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 9 August page 7

Children adopted from abroad ‘more likely to
suffer from mental illness’

Children adopted from abroad are far more likely to have mental
health problems and suicidal tendencies than the rest of the
population in their new country, according to latest research.

A study of 11,300 “inter-country adoptees” found many felt
singled out because they were of a different ethnic background.
They often struggled to overcome the setbacks of their early

The result is a risk to depressive illness that is up to four
times the level of the rest of the population. The chance of
committing suicide is 3.6 times higher, according to the medical
journal, ‘The Lancet’.

Dr Anders Hjerin, who co-ordinated the study, said the group was
five times more likely to be addicted to drugs and up to three
times more likely to commit crimes or abuse alcohol.

He said: “The issue is not whether adoptees are more likely to
have difficulty adjusting socially, but rather why these
difficulties exist and what to do about them.”

Source:- The
Independent Friday 9 August page

Adoption authority ‘bullied worker into

The chief executive of the British Agencies for Adoption and
Fostering forced a development officer out of her job in a
four-year bullying campaign, a tribunal in Croydon, south London,
was told yesterday.

Sylvia Barker claims constructive dismissal after alleged
harassment by Felicity Collier.

The authority disputes the claim.

Source:- The
Independent Friday 9 August page

Scottish newspapers

Equality urged for gay couples

Gay people who live together should have the same rights as
heterosexuals when it comes to claiming damages for grief,
distress, or sorrow and loss of financial support, according to the
Scottish Law Commission.

At present Scottish law prevents gay couples from making such
claims, but the law commission concludes that this is contrary to
contemporary values and expectations.

The law commission’s findings say that the concept of
“immediate family” should be retained in the legislation, but now
be interpreted to include same-sex couples. The recommendations,
welcomed by human rights groups, will now be considered by
ministers with a view to implementation.

Source:- The Herald Friday 9 August page 8

Welsh newspapers

Head of racial equality in Wales resigns

The head of the Commission for Racial Equality in Wales has
resigned after an internal investigation.

Dr Mashuq Ally tended his resignation in July, six months after
he was suspended over allegations of professional misconduct, but
although he resigned a month ago, the decision was not announced
until last night.

Dr Ally, who is an expert on Islamic affairs denies that his
resignation has anything to do with the inquiry, but he says came
about following a disagreement with the CRE in Wales.

He was suspended from his £40,000-a-year post on full pay
on February 28, although this was not announced until mid April
following allegations of professional misconduct and inappropriate
behaviour towards colleagues.

An internal investigation that was concluded in June ruled out
any question of wrongdoing on Dr Ally’s part.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 9 August page 1

Councillor accused of threat

An investigation has been launched after a senior councillor
allegedly threatened to throw a female social worker out of a

Former Gwent and Monmouthshire council leader, Graham Powell is
said to have made the alleged threat, and it is also claimed that
he told the woman that he would have her sacked.

The incident is said to have taken place at heated meeting
called to discuss on-going care arrangements for a couple in the
county. The social worker who had arranged the meeting left after
the alleged comments were made. Four other people were present at
the meeting.

Graham Powell said his remarks were ‘jocular’, but Monmouthshire
council is investigating the incident.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 9 August page 1





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